Pharmacies Face Tighter Controls

The Ministry of Health’s Food and Drug Department will amend some of the requirements listed in the food and drug regulations to ensure all pharmacies and retailers selling healthcare products have a qualified pharmacist on their staff.

The details of the new improvements are being prepared and will be disseminated to all pharmacy owners throughout the country as soon as possible.

Director General of the department, Dr Somthavy Changvisommid, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that these improvements would encourage shop owners to operate their businesses for the benefit of society as well as for their own incomes.

“The improvements will ensure that all pharmacies sell only good quality medicine. It will also keep them in line with the development of the country,” he said.

It is possible for medicine to have a negative effect as well as positive benefits to consumers. If a person takes the wrong medicine they are less likely to recover quickly and in fact the medicine could do them more harm than good.

The new regulations are likely to also increase the responsibility of medical staff in monitoring what is being dispensed to the public and encouraging the retailers to sell only quality products.

Pharmacists are advised to wear medical uniforms to help people to identify them from general sales staff. The owners of the businesses will be required to ensure that only qualified people, those holding a certificate from the Ministry of Health Sciences, can sell medicines to consumers.

Dr Somthavy said the department did not prohibit investment in pharmacies and dispensaries by commercial people. But at least one member of staff in a pharmacy should be a graduate from the University of Health Sciences.

This staff member should have the legal responsibility to ensure the correct medicine is always dispensed to the customer to avoid mistakes which could have serious repercussions for the sick person.

Shop owners should cooperate with the medical staff when they pay them a visit and are urged to strictly follow all the laws and regulations related to medicine and its dispensing.

“All medicines sold in a shop should carry a sticker from the Food and Drug Department so that the patient can have confidence that the medicine is safe and will help them to recover,” he said.

Mr Vayo, a Vientiane resident, said that it would be a good thing if the Food and Drug Department ensured pharmacy shop owners strictly follow the law by insisting that only a pharmacist can sell medicine.

“I have seen some places in Vientiane where children, even grandchildren and other family members are selling medicine to customers and they obviously do not have a certificate from the University of Health Sciences to do this,” he said, adding that sometimes he is not very confident after buying medicine from these people.

 Source: Vientiane Times

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